Thursday 23 January 2020

Capuchin Day Centre sees a rise in hungry young couples 'trying to get married, trying to get mortgage'

'Right to respect': Br Kevin
'Right to respect': Br Kevin
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

There has been a 20pc rise in the food-poor attending a charity to eat - including young couples who rent.

Brother Kevin Crowley said he's also seen an increase in the number of homeless families attending the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin for their meals this year.

"We have young people here trying to get a mortgage, trying to get married and they can't afford it, as the rent is so high, so they can't get a mortgage," Br Kevin said.

"Every family, every person, has the right to have a decent home, food and respect.

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"The Government needs to have respect and give human dignity to people in need.

"Some people haven't got enough money to buy food. We have people coming in, in the morning time, who've been working at night.

"They come in for breakfast, as they can't afford meals. This can only be resolved by the Government and the Taoiseach. Only for the generosity of the people abroad and here in Ireland, we wouldn't be able to keep the centre open."

In July, a Safefood study stated 10pc of Irish people are living in food poverty. The term refers to those unable to afford an adequate and nutritious diet.

The study found those who are dependant on social welfare, who are parents to teenagers, or who live in rural areas struggle the most.

But Br Kevin has confirmed even some young couples who are renting properties, with aspirations to own their own home and to marry, are struggling due to high rent.

"Until such time the Government gets its act together and sees the situation of the homeless problem and the housing crisis, we will have people finding it difficult to live, as rent is too expensive," he said. "Young people can't get a mortgage to buy their own homes. The situation is appalling.

"And it's up to the Government and the Housing Minister to solve this crisis.

"Back in the '50s and '60s plenty of social housing was built and there wasn't half as much money, but now it's just appalling. A lack of housing is the cause of this homelessness and poverty."

The Irish Independent visited the centre on Bow Street in Dublin city centre as volunteers were preparing for a children's Christmas party.

One side of the dining room is reserved for families and is kept private from other diners.

One little boy, of around eight years of age, sat in the corner eating with his father. His father told how he lived in emergency accommodation with his wife and son.

Another mother of a young baby told how her partner and she had been unable to secure a rental property even though her partner had a full-time job.

They found themselves homeless when she was pregnant and had no option but to enter into emergency accommodation.

The mother, a professional who is now a full-time mother, said: "I never could have imagined this would be me or my son. Homelessness happened to someone else.

"But here we are. It's our first Christmas in emergency accommodation and it's very tough."

Brother Kevin added: "It's been very busy, there's a huge demand for food from families with young children.

"Mothers are constantly looking for baby clothes, baby food and nappies.

"It's appalling.

"I'm concerned about the number of people who find it difficult to get anywhere to live."

Irish Independent

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